Anti-doping: the rules apply to everyone
9th January 2018
Doping is something that undermines and scars sport. It jeopardises the safety of athletes and the integrity of competition.
At elite level, there have been high profile cases of drug cheats which have dominated the sporting news. Lance Armstrong’s record-breaking cycling career unravelled in a series of revelations about his sophisticated system to cheat using performance enhancing drugs. Athletics has also been blighted with competitors using banned substances to gain an unfair advantage.
However, if you thought that anti-doping is something that only applies to a handful of sports at elite level, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
In a report on the BBC website in March 2017, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) were quoted as saying that drug use at all levels of sport was “fast becoming a crisis”. Alarmingly, the story stated that 35% of amateur sports people personally know someone who has doped. Of the athletes who were serving bans for doping at that time, over 60% were amateur sports people.
UKAD helps to protect a vast range of sports at all levels, including volleyball. Volleyball England believes in a clean sport. It works alongside UKAD, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and World ParaVolley (WPV) to promote a clear anti-doping philosophy.
Anti-doping applies to athletes at every level. Whether you play volleyball in the local league or at any level up to being an international, you have a responsibility to protect yourself and your sport.
Many of you will be reading this and thinking ‘this doesn’t apply to me’. However, do you know which substances are banned and how to find out? Banned substances can be found in medications used to treat a range of commonly occurring acute and chronic conditions, such as asthma. If you need to take a banned medication for a genuine illness, you can apply for an exemption.
Nutritional supplements may also contain banned substances and in most cases these would only be identified by checking each of the ingredients. The website Informed Sport contains a database of supplements which have been tested so you can check your supplements are not prohibited.
Everyone who takes part in sport is solely responsible for ensuring they do not take banned substances. This is a principle officially called strict liability. It means that should an athlete be found to have committed a violation, they are to blame, no matter what the circumstances.
The consequences can be severe, and include not only being banned from the sport but a ruined reputation and loss of sponsorships. The anti-doping section of the Volleyball England website includes all the information you need regarding anti-doping, including:
- Anti-doping rules
- What constitutes an anti-doping violation
- Where to find the list of substances which are banned by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA)
- How to check if medications or supplements are prohibited
- How to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), if a prohibited medicine is needed for a genuine health reason.
For most players, they will never have any personal concerns but it is essential to have an awareness of anti-doping regulations.
Protecting your sport
Some competitors will deliberately cheat. Taking performing-enhancing substances can seriously put an athlete’s health at risk, as well as risking their reputation, sponsorships and any potential future earnings from sport (including funding support). If you suspect a fellow athlete of using banned substances, no matter what level you play at, you can report it anonymously to UKAD. Find out how on the anti-doping section of the Volleyball England website.
What about coaches or athlete support personnel?
Anti-doping rules apply to you too. A coach or athlete support person can violate anti-doping rules and receive a ban. Coaches and athlete support personnel (ASP) play a key role in protecting sports. They are in positions of trust and can be a vital source a guidance, particularly to young athletes, about anti-doping.
Checking out the anti-doping section of the website will help coaches and ASP understand their responsibilities and arm them with the knowledge they need to help others to keep volleyball clean.